The Gondoliers

   

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No. 1: OPENING CHORUS
"List and Learn"
Midi Symbol

SCENE: — The Piazetta, Venice. The Ducal Palace on the right. Fiametta, Giulia, Vittoria, and other Contadine discovered, each tying a bouquet of roses.

Contadine.

List and learn, list and learn,
List and learn, ye dainty roses,
Roses white and roses red,
Why we bind you into posies
Ere your morning bloom has fled.
By a law of maiden's making,
Accents of a heart that's aching,
Even though that heart be breaking,
Should by maiden be unsaid:
Though they love with love exceeding,
They must seem to be unheeding —
Go ye then and do their pleading,
Roses white and roses red!
List and learn,
List and learn, ye dainty roses,
Roses white and roses red,
Why we bind you into posies
Ere your morning bloom has fled.
List and learn, list and learn,
Roses white and roses red,
Roses, Oh list, list and learn,
List and learn,
Oh, roses white and red!


Fiametta.
Two there are for whom in duty,
Every maid in Venice sighs —
Two so peerless in their beauty
That they shame the summer skies.
We have hearts for them, in plenty,
They have hearts, but all too few,
We, alas, are four-and-twenty!
They, alas, are only two!
We, alas!

1939 Production
Click on picture to enlarge
Contadine.
Alas!
Fiametta.
Are four-and-twenty,
They, alas!
Contadine.
Alas!
Fiametta.
Are only two.
Contadine.
They, alas, are only two, alas!
Now ye know, ye dainty roses,
Roses white and roses red,
Why we bind you into posies,
Ere your morning bloom has fled,
Now ye know, now ye know,
Roses white and roses red!
Roses, Oh now, now ye know,
Now ye know,
Oh, roses white and red.

1907 Revival
Click on picture to enlarge

During this chorus Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio, and other Gondoliers have entered unobserved by the Girls —
at first two, then two more, then four, then half a dozen, then the remainder of the Chorus.

Francesco.
Good morrow, pretty maids; for whom prepare ye
These floral tributes extraordinary?
Fiametta.
For Marco and Giuseppe Palmieri,
The pink and flower of all the Gondolieri.
Giulia.
They're coming here, as we have heard but lately,
To choose two brides from us who sit sedately.
Antonio.
Do all you maidens love them?
Contadine.
Passionately!
Antonio.
These gondoliers are to be envied greatly!
Giorgio.
But what of us, who one and all adore you?
Have pity on our passion, we implore you!
Fiametta.
These gentlemen must make their choice before you;
Vittoria.
In the meantime we tacitly ignore you.
Giulia.
When they have chosen two that leaves you plenty —
Two dozen we, and ye are four-and-twenty.
Fiametta & Vittoria.
Till then, enjoy your dolce far niente.
Antonio.
With pleasure, nobody contradicente!

Antonio.
For the merriest fellows are we,
Chorus.
Tra la, tra la, tra la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra, la, la, la.
Antonio.
That ply on the emerald sea,
Chorus.
Tra la, tra la, tra la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra, la, la, la.
Antonio.
With loving and laughing,
And quipping and quaffing,
We're happy as happy can be,
Chorus.
Tra la!
Antonio.
With loving and laughing,
And quipping and quaffing,
We're happy as happy can be,
Chorus.
Tra la, la, la, la, etc.
Harry Arnold as Antonio, 1920
Antonio

Antonio.
With sorrow we've nothing to do,
Chorus.
Tra la, tra la, tra la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra, la, la, la.
Antonio.
And care is a thing to pooh-pooh,
Chorus.
Tra la, tra la, tra la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra, la, la, la.
Antonio.
And Jealousy yellow,
Unfortunate fellow,
We drown in the shimmering blue,
Chorus.
Tra la!
Antonio.
And Jealousy yellow,
Unfortunate fellow,
We drown in the shimmering blue,
Chorus.
Tra la, la, la, la, etc.

Fiametta. (looking off)
See, see, at last they come to make their choice —
Let us acclaim them with united voice

Marco and Giuseppe appear in gondola at back.

1926 Production
Click onpicture to enlarge
Contadine.
Hail, hail! gallant gondolieri, ben venuti!
Ben' venuti!
Accept our love, our homage, and our duty.
Ben' venuti! ben' venuti!


Marco and Giuseppe jump ashore — the Girls salute them.

Marco & Giuseppe.
Buon' giorno, signorine!
Contadine.
Gondolieri carissimi!
Siamo contadine!
Marco & Giuseppe. (bowing)
Servitori umilissimi!
Per chi questi fiori —
Questi fiori bellissimi?
Contadine.
Per voi, bei signori
O eccellentissimi!

The Girls present their bouquets to Marco and Giuseppe, who are overwhelmed with them, and carry them with difficulty.

Marco & Giuseppe. (their arms full of flowers)
O ciel'! O ciel'!
Contadine.
Buon' giorno, cavalieri!
Marco & Giuseppe. (deprecatingly)
Siamo gondolieri.
(To Fia. and Vit.) Signorina, io t' amo!
Contadine. (deprecatingly)
Contadine siamo.
 
1926 Production
Click on picture to enlarge

Gondoliers.
Signorine!
Contadine. (deprecatingly)
Contadine!
(Curtseying to Mar. and Giu.) Cavalieri.
Gondoliers.
Gondolieri!
Marco & Giusseppe. (deprecatingly).
Poveri gondolieri!
Gondoliers.
Poveri gondolieri!

Contadine. Marco. Gondoliers.
  Buon' giorno, signorine! Buon' giorno, signorine!
Gondolieri carissimi!
Siamo contadine!
   
  Servitori umilissimi!
Per chi questi fiori —
Questi fiori bellissimi?
Servitori umilissimi!
Servitori umilissimi!
Servitori umilissimi!
Per voi, bei signori
O eccellentissimi!
  Servitori umilissimi,
umilissimi!
  Signorine! Signorine!
Contadine!
Cavalieri.
   
  Gondolieri! Gondolieri!
Buon' giorno, cavalieri! Buon' giorno, signorine! Buon' giorno, signorine!

Frederick Hobbs as Giuseppe &
Derek Oldham as Marco, 1919
Click on picture to enlarge
Marco & Giuseppe.
We're called gondolieri,
But that's a vagary,
It's quite honorary
The trade that we ply.
For gallantry noted
Since we were short-coated,
To beauty devoted,
Giuseppe\Are Marco and I;

Marco. Giuseppe.
When morning is breaking,
Our couches forsaking,
To greet their awaking
With carols we come.
At summer day's nooning,
When weary lagooning,
When morning is breaking,
Our couches forsaking,
To greet their awaking
With carols we come.
At summer day's nooning,
When weary lagooning,
Our mandolins Our mandolins tuning,
tuning, We lazily thrum.
We la-   Our mandolins tuning,
  zily thrum. We lazily, lazily thrum.
Tra la, la, la, etc. Our mandolins tuning,
Tra la, la, la, etc. We lazily thrum.
Tra la, la, la, etc. Tra la, la, la, etc.

Marco. Giuseppe.
When vespers are ringing,
To hope ever clinging,
With songs of our singing
A vigil we keep,
When daylight is fading,
Enwrapt in night's shading,
With soft serenading
We sing them to sleep.
When vespers are ringing,
To hope ever clinging,
With songs of our singing
A vigil we keep,
When daylight is fading,
Enwrapt in night's shading,
With soft serenading
We sing them to sleep.
With soft serena-     
   ding We sing them
We sing them to sleep. We sing them to sleep.
With soft serenading
We sing them to sleep.
With soft serenading
We sing them to sleep.
Marco (Thomas Round) &
Giuseppe (Alan Styler), 1961
Click on picture to enlarge

Marco. Giuseppe.
We're called gondolieri, Tra la, la, la, la, Tra la, la, la, la,
But that's a vagary. Tra la, la, la, la, Tra la, la, la, la!
Gondolieri, gondolieri, Gondolieri, gondolieri,
Tra la, la, la, la, Tra la, la, la, la, Tra la, la, la, la, Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la, la, la! Tra la, la, la, la, la, la!
Gondolieri, gondolieri, Gondolieri, gondolieri,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la, la, la, la,
Tra la! Tra la!

Marco.
And now to choose our brides!
Giuseppe.
As all are young and fair,
And amiable besides,
Both.
We really do not care
A preference to declare.
Marco.
A bias to disclose
Would be indelicate —
Giuseppe.
And therefore we propose
To let impartial Fate
Select for us a mate!
All.
Viva!
Contadine.
A bias to disclose
Would be indelicate —
Gondoliers.
But how do they propose
To let impartial Fate
Select for them a mate?
Giuseppe.
These handkerchiefs upon our eyes be good enough to bind,
Marco.
And take good care that both of us are absolutely blind;
Both.
Then turn us round — and we, with all convenient despatch,
Will undertake to marry any two of you we catch!
All.
Viva!
They undertake to marry any two of us/them they catch!

The Girls prepare to bind their eyes as directed.

Fiametta. (to Marco)
Are you peeping?
Can you see me?
Marco.
Dark I'm keeping,
Dark and dreamy!
(Marco slyly lifts bandage.)
Vittoria. (to Giuseppe)
If you're blinded
Truly, say so
Giuseppe.
All right-minded
Players play so!
(slyly lifts bandage)
Fiametta. (detecting Marco)
Conduct shady!
They are cheating!
Surely they de-
Serve a beating!
(replaces bandage)
Vittoria. (detecting Giuseppe)
This too much is;
Maidens mocking —
Conduct such is
Truly shocking!
(replaces bandage)

Contadine. Gondoliers.
You can spy, sir! Fie,
Shut your eye, sir! for shame!
You can spy, sir! Fie,
Shut your eye, sir! for shame!
You may use it by and by, sir! Fie, for shame!
You can see, sir!
Don't tell me, sir!
You can see, sir!
Don't tell me, sir!
That will do — now let it be, sir!
That will do — now let it be, sir!
You can see, sir!
Don't tell me, sir!
You can see, sir!
Don't tell me, sir!
That will do — now let it be, sir!
That will do — now let it be, sir!

Contadine.
My papa he keeps three horses,
Black, and white, and dapple grey, sir;
Turn three times, then take your courses,
Catch whichever girl you may, sir!
Gondoliers.
My papa he keeps three horses,
Black, and white, and dapple grey, sir;
Turn three times, then take your courses,
Catch whichever girl you may, sir!
All.
My papa he keeps three horses,
Black, and white, and dapple grey, sir;

Marco and Giuseppe turn round, as directed, and try to catch the girls. Business of blind-man's buff. Eventually Marco catches Gianetta, and Giuseppe catches Tessa. The two girls try to escape, but in vain. The two men pass their hands over the girls' faces to discover their identity.

Giuseppe.
I've at length achieved a capture!
(guessing) This is Tessa!
(removes bandage) Rapture, rapture!
Chorus.
Rapture, rapture!
Marco.

(guessing) To me Gianetta fate has granted!
(removes bandage) Just the very girl I wanted!

Chorus.
Just the very girl he wanted!
Giuseppe. (politely to Marco)
If you'd rather change —
Tessa.
My goodness!
This indeed is simple rudeness.
Marco. (politely to Giuseppe)
I've no preference whatever —
Gianetta.
Listen to him! Well, I never!

Each man kisses each girl.

Gianetta (Muriel Dickson) &
Marco (Charles Goulding) 1932
Click on picture to enlarge
Gianetta.
Thank you, gallant gondolieri!
In a set and formal measure
It is scarcely necessary
To express our pleasure.
Each of us to prove a treasure,
Conjugal and monetary,
Gladly will devote our leisure,
Gallant gondolieri.
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
Tessa.
Gay and gallant gondolieri,
Take us both and hold us tightly,
You have luck extraordinary;
We might have been unsightly!
If we judge your conduct rightly,
'Twas a choice involuntary;
Still we thank you most politely,
Gay and gallant gondolieri!
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
Tessa (Marjorie Eyre) & Giuseppe (Leslie Rands) 1932
Click on picture to enlarge

All.
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!

Sopranos. Others.
Thank you, gallant gondolieri!
In a set and formal measure
It is scarcely necessary
To express our pleasure.
Each of us to prove a treasure,
Gladly will devote our leisure,
Gay and gallant gondolieri.
Tra, la, la, la, la, la, etc.
La, la, la, etc.

All.
Fate in this has put his finger —
Let us bow to Fate's decree,
Then no longer let us linger,
To the altar hurry we!
Tra la, la, la, la,
La, la, la, la, la, la, la!

They all dance off two and two — Gianetta with Marco, Tessa with Giuseppe.

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Page Created 19 October, 2005

   
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